Democrat Raph Graybill conceded the race for Montana Attorney General on Wednesday morning to Republican candidate Austin Knudsen.
Election results as of 9:30 a.m. showed Knudsen had secured 324,336 votes to Graybill's 234,187, or 58 percent to 42 percent.
“I congratulate Austin Knudsen on his victory last night. His success as Attorney General is Montana’s success, and I wish him the very best," Graybill said in a statement.
The attorney general’s office opened in this year’s election as incumbent Tim Fox was term-limited and could not run again.
Graybill was the chief legal counsel for Gov. Steve Bullock’s office. He said that role has given him experience representing Montana in the type of big cases the attorney general has to handle. He argued voters should look at this election as choosing a lawyer for the state.
"To our supporters, thank you," Graybill continued in the statement. "Though we came up short tonight, I am profoundly humbled by your efforts. This campaign broke records for volunteers and grassroots supporters, and I know our efforts across Montana will continue to grow and ensure elected officials are held accountable to the people and our constitution.
Thank you for your support. You sent a message, and Montanans heard it. After a hard-fought election, it’s now time to come together as Montanans and do what is right for the people of our state.”
Knudsen was elected Roosevelt County attorney in 2018. Prior to that, he served in the Montana House of Representatives, including two terms as speaker. He highlighted his experience in natural resource law and as a prosecuting attorney, and he promised to take a hard line on methamphetamine and other drug-related crime.